Casino gaming in Ohio has reached a milestone, with figures showing that, for the first time, more money has been spent in Ohio casinos than in Indiana casinos located in the Cincinnati metro area. The first casino opened in Ohio two years ago.
The Cincinnati Horseshoe Casino and two recently opened racinos in Anderson Township (Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center) and Miami Valley Gaming in Turtlecreek Township, Warren County grossed $33.9 million in May. This resulted in the southwest part of Ohio accounting for 53.9 percent of the $62.8 million that was spent in the region for that month, according to a study by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Pinnacle Entertainment, which operates the newly opened Belterra, reported $5.7 million profits in May, the first month of operation. The facility, which has 1,500 VLTs, spent $0.5 million on promotional slots credit, the lowest spent by the Ohio racinos.
The three riverboat casinos in Southeast Indiana accounted for the 46.1 percent balance. In May of last year, before Ohio opened two racinos, they accounted for 64.3 percent of the total.
Ohio’s Greater Cincinnati casinos pay about $100 million in taxes that help fund local schools, counties and municipalities.
The competitive nature of the region will be fanned when a new racino opens in Dayton next year. Its most immediate rival will be Miami Valley Gaming, which is located between Dayton and Cincinnati.
ThistleDown Racino, which had the option of moving its location from its current location between North Randall and Warrensville Heights in Cuyahoga County east of Cleveland to the Akron–Canton, has announced that it will remain where it is.
Rock Ohio Caesars reopened the 89-year old racetrack last year with video lottery terminals (VLTs) after an $89 million upgrade that included six restaurants and two bars.
The eagerness of the various local governments to upgrade roads and other infrastructure may have been a major deciding factor in the decision not to relocate. Since the racino reopened it has increased tourism in the area and the increase in purses at the racetrack has also brought more business. Rock Ohio Caesars has committed to spending $60 million to upgrade the existing facility.
Mayor David Smith of North Randall told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We are pleased that our preliminary talks to revitalize the area surrounding the racino played a role in ThistleDown’s decision to stay and we are excited to begin working immediately with the various stakeholders to bring these plans to life.”
Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino’s revenues for May were $2 million less than May of 2013.
Drawing conclusions about winners and losers in this region is premature, according to Bob of Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Gaming, which will be opening the Dayton racino. “Even though it may seem like a long time to people, the gaming market in Ohio is, in the overall scale of things, very young,” he told WYSO.